The properties of silicate and also borate glass can be fine-tuned using glass modification such as lithium oxide, calcium oxide, and zinc oxide to meet several niche design applications. This article examines just how high-specification glasses are developed for numerous applications using usual glass modifiers.

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Ordinary glass is heat-resistant, exhibits low thermal expansion, and also offers very great thermal shock resistance. It is chemically durable, exhibits high electrical resistivity, and also is optically transparent. All of these properties make glass a unique material that is vital in architecture, labware, electronics, and also engineering.

Glass amendment can further transform glass into a true wonder-material. The nature of glass can be specifically tuned and also augmented, just similar to other materials such together steel, through carefully including chemical modification to satisfy a huge range of demanding applications.

Glass Structure and also Composition

There are three broad categories for the constituents of glass: network formers, modifiers, and intermediates.1 through network formers, the mass of the glass is made up of a highly cross-linked network of chemical bonds. The most common network-forming constitute of glass is silicon oxide. Two other commonly used oxides in the manufacturing of glass are boron and also germanium.

To further transform the nature of glass, chemical modifiers, consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, and also calcium, deserve to be added to glass in little quantities. These modifiers exist together charged single atoms (ions) among the cross-linked network formers. Together such, they minimize the relative variety of strong bonds in the glass and, in turn, lower the melting suggest and viscosity.

Dependent top top the glass composition, intermediates, including titanium, aluminum, and zinc, room chemicals that can behave together network-formers or modifiers.2 A very closely tuned balance of network formers, intermediates, and modifiers are forced to avoid the formation of bespeak crystallites within the material as glasses space naturally extremely disordered.

Effects of Glass Modifiers

Additivity relationships about describe the properties of amendment glass as glass usually acts like a solution, definition that each ingredient contributes come the bulk properties the the glass by an amount roughly proportional come its concentration.3

The normal bonding between glass-forming elements and oxygen is interrupted through glass modifiers together they room loosely bonding through the oxygen atoms. “Non-bridging oxygens” are created, which climate lowers the loved one amount of strong bonding within the glass. This means that glass modifiers commonly have far-ranging effects top top glass properties.

Such results include a reduction in melt point, surface ar tension, and viscosity as a result of weaker in its entirety bonding in ~ the material.4 Glass modifiers impact the coefficient of thermal expansion, chemistry durability, and the refractive index, making glass much easier to work-related with at reduced temperatures v no impact on transparency.

Glass Modifiers for High-Specification Applications

The various easily accessible glass modifiers have actually several usual properties. However, the unique chemical properties of each deserve to have varying results on the properties of the produced glass.

Chemical Durability

The chemistry durability that glass is commonly reduced once metals, for example, sodium and potassium, are used as modifiers. In contrast, the chemical durability of glass deserve to increase once alkaline planet metals, for example, calcium, room used.5


Glass has actually high resistivity and permittivity, i beg your pardon lends it to applications in resistors and also capacitors. Resistivity in glasses deserve to be dramatically increased through the enhancement of tellurium, germanium or titanium oxides in low concentrations. This makes them attractive glass modifiers because that ultra-high resistance applications, for example, listening aids and infrared detectors.6

Glass for Labware

In labware manufacturing, glass with solid chemical durability and resistance to heat shock is extremely valued. Thermal expansion results can be diminished through the enhancement of zinc oxide to silicate glass. This provides it an especially resistant to heat shock.

Glasses that usage borate as well as silicate together a network former, known as borosilicate glasses, space also particularly thermally resistant and also chemically durable. This provides them one attractive product for reaction vessels, check tubes, and other labware.

Specialty Optical Properties

Several glasses room prized because that their unexplained optical characteristics. Photochromic lenses widely usage zinc-modified glass, if the photosensitive glass is produced using silver, gold, and also copper and can change color in an answer to occurrence light.4,7

Bioactive Glass

The biomedical neighborhood is an especially interested in the form of amendment glass that closely emulates the properties of the mineral part of living bone. This is recognized as bioactive glass. It is very biocompatible and also forms strong chemical bonds v bone.

Calcium and sodium act together the main modifiers to create a comparatively soft glass consisting of roughly 45% silicate. Such glass deserve to be readily machined right into implants for usage in the fix of bone injuries.8

Mo-Sci top Precision Glass Technology

A world-leader in precision glass technology, Mo-Sci produces a wide variety of high-specification glasses for applications in healthcare, electronics, and engineering. Their expertise includes bioactive glass, high refractive index glass, and fluorescent glass. Tradition solutions can be created for virtually any kind of glass applications by Mo-Sci.

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References and also Further Reading


This information has been sourced, reviewed and adjusted from materials noted by Mo-Sci Corp.